for saxophone quartet
instrumentation: saxs, saxa, saxt, saxbr
duration: 6 minutes
première: August 8, 2007, Davos Festival, Congresszentrum Davos, Switzerland
AIRPHONES presents the saxophone quartet as a unified entity, with all four instruments rising and cascading together as if in a series of inhalations and exhalations. The natural ebb and flow thus created is maximised by the way in which saxophone timbres blend with each other, generating the impression of a single instrument, a single contour of constantly shifting harmonies that expand and contract. This undulating texture is counterweighted by brief outbursts of punctuated chords, again involving the entire quartet in rhythmic unison. These outbursts and the constantly shifting rhythms of the flowing passages lend contrast and variation to the prevailing sense of unity. As the work draws to a close, the instruments attempt to assert their individuality, moving independently of one another in longer, sustained notes. After seemingly settling on such a note, the work ends with a single, almost quizzical staccato chord, uniting the contrasting registers of the soprano and baritone saxophones.
Alwyn Tomas Westbrooke